Why teaching not learning?

A few people have commented on the emphasis on teaching over learning that’s implied in the title of the manifesto. This was a deliberate move to highlight what we think has been an over-emphasis on ‘learning’ in the context of online education. Our view is that it’s important to continue to value and work with the idea of the ‘teacher’ when we’re online, however that role might be shifted and redefined by the digital. We’ve been influenced by Gert Biesta’s critique of the ‘learnification’ of education here, and the necessity of distinguishing between ‘learning’ and ‘education’ (see http://bit.ly/bh1GG9).

Also, although there are many ways of reading the manifesto, one of our intentions was that it be seen as a series of light precepts for the design of online education and assessment – something that teachers might find useful and generative.

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6 thoughts on “Why teaching not learning?”

  1. I think that the emphasis on the teaching is really important, although I do think it’s essential to think about our student needs we sometimes do this at the expense of the teacher’s role within the classroom. We need to think about our own skills, capabilities and even preferences and how we can make the most out of these to offer high quality teaching. In an online environment (particularly when you’re teaching there for the first time) we need to recognise and build on what we know and can do already, and then we might feel confident to experiment with innovative and novel strategies.

  2. Place is differently, not less, important online.
    Closed online spaces limit the educational power of the network.
    Online spaces can be permeable and flexible, letting networks and flows replace boundaries.

    The three specific references to space/place make clear the manifesto’s recognition of environment in teaching/leaning — and, that teaching/learning actions take place contingent to physical space, even when mediated/hybridized by technological systems. I find this vastly interesting and encouraging. Furthermore, Sian’s post has the intriguing, engaged reference to “design of online education and assessment” as “generative.” Are we to read the shadows of an emergent system here? From the serious fun of the manifesto, and for its recursive, generative intentions, I vote: yes. Taking a further leap, we realize design has the option of existing in cognitive space, physical space, digital space, or like the design of the MScEL, in hybridized spaces. I’m taking cues from the manifesto to suggest that those four spatial conditions are, in fact, recursive “unities” (in the lingo of autopoiesis), and therefore system continuations of each other, factoring student/tutor/pedagogy as embedded in cognitively extended learning environments. For me, that makes a happy reading of the manifesto.

  3. Philosophically moving away from ego and teaching as ‘controlling behaviors’ has been a good thing. Focus on the results of instructional practices is also valuable.
    Expectations of standards of student performance after experiencing what is supposed to be an instructional event is de rigueur.
    As an educator, I design online learning for an audience.
    /Design/ is not a gratuitous act.
    The end result of my instructional design is to benefit the student.
    To reiterate- the design is specific for consideration of what the student is doing, not the “teacher”.
    Let’s remember, with good design…a computer could do it…
    Better.

    1. hi DrDawg – thanks for your comment. I think I see where you’re coming from, here. In my experience of teaching online, the design of a course is hugely important. Often that design is explicitly about making room for things to *happen* during the course itself, though – including things I’m involved with, as the teacher. Design is not gratuitous, but neither is contact, is it? I’m interested in what you see as the potential gains, but also the potential losses, in designing in favour of that which the computer can deliver/measure?

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